Back Where They Started New Park Is Within Block of Where City's First Amateur Teams Played in 1800s

John Rohde Published: April 12, 1998
Advertisement
;

After more than a century, baseball in Oklahoma City has circled various bases and is headed home.

Amateur teams existed in the city shortly after the state's Land Run at high noon on April 22, 1889.

They played on makeshift fields that year, including a centrally located site where Bricktown is now located.

Some 109 years later and within a block of the original site, home plate has been rediscovered with the opening of Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark at 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive (formerly Walnut).

Details of early ballparks in Oklahoma City are sketchy.

Information can be found in the archives of The Daily Oklahoman and Times; in the book "Old Times to the Goodtimes," written in 1981 by Patrick K. Petree at the request of former 89ers owners Bing Hampton and his wife, Patty Cox-Hampton; and in the book "Born Grown" by Roy P. Stewart.

Bob Blackburn and Max Nichols of the Oklahoma Historical Society also are well-versed with the area's history.

Thanks to the aforementioned, we can piece together the following ballpark puzzle:

The city's first permanent ballpark structure was Colcord Field, built along the banks of the North Canadian River in 1904 for the debut of professional baseball in Oklahoma City.

Before being destroyed by severe flooding in 1923, the facility would go through four names - Colcord Park, Saratoga Park, Liberty Park and Western League Park.

The Oklahoma City Indians won their second pro baseball title in 1923. Flooding was a problem the entire fall that year.

The Indians claimed the pennant by one-half game. The deciding game was played on a muddy, improvised baseball diamond in front of the old state fairgrounds grandstand near NE 8 and Eastern. The facility is now the football stadium at Douglass High School.

The move to that location was necessary after the second of three floods hit Western League Park that year.

Roy "Snake" Allen, the Indians' colorful pitcher that season, shared details of the championship season with Petree.

"I remember we had gone to the park the day after the flood," Allen said. "Water was everywhere. It covered the field, was in the clubhouse, and was as high as about the third or fourth row of seats in the grandstand.

Continue reading this story on the...

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.